In 1997, my Papa took my sister and I to our very first West End Musical and it was Miss Saigon. I grew up singing the songs and I have the entire soundtrack memorized, so it was the first (and only) musical on my list. I remember coming into the theater and being ushered onto the box seats. It was my first West End musical and I was watching it from exclusive box seats — what a treat!
I wasn’t supposed to come on this trip. It was initially a trip planned by two of my sisters, but when the other one decided to come along, my mom thought it best that I did too. My last visit to America was in 2004 and I was still in College then, so it was due time. The only problem was I hadn’t renewed my visa yet. But when I had a successful run at the embassy and was blessed with a 10-year multiple entry, it was clear: “I am kasama” (I am going).
Here is a photo of myself and Papa in Luneta. This must be 1987 (give or take a year or two) and back then, we used to go to Luneta so I could go biking. I learned to ride the bicycle without training wheels in Camp Aguinaldo, but my first experience on a bicycle was in Luneta.
Old but not quite
A song plays and it paints a familiar air of ominous tunes in the still air.
Old but not quite.
Surely does not feel likew thirty-six…
Especially with the shackles tight around my hands and feet. I am a prisoner and I drag painstakingly along, creating screeching sounds that deafen in the silence of the night.
Some people get emotional on their birthdays but I was never the type. Last year was different though…
I missed Papa the most yesterday. I don’t always think of him, I confess. I think I’ve compartmentalized a big chunk of that reality to cope… so most of the time I forget about him and then surges of memories come at different times of the day, especially when I’m driving or when I pass by his office. When this happens I feel a deep hurt in my chest and I cannot breathe. Then I remember he’s gone and I’ll feel tears run down my cheeks, and I’ll wipe it right away. Sometimes I even find myself shaking my head, like when you’re trying to get rid of a bad thought. I don’t like being sad. I know my being sad won’t really bring my Papa back, so I don’t want to remember him that way.